When you co-view television with your kids, you can help them sort out what they see and hear while watching programs. You help them understand the information they receive.

Ideas for watching TV with your child

Co-Viewing is important. It helps us see and hear what our children see and hear. Television and movies provide our children with information — some is factual and some is not. Images on the screen can also bring out strong feelings. When we watch TV or a movie with our children, we can ask questions to help them think about what they see and learn.

We can also help them make connections to what they learn at home and in school. For example, when you watch a show about animals, ask your children which animals are the same as those in a book that you have read. Where else have you seen this animal? Maybe you saw it on a trip to the zoo. Make watching TV active!

Co-viewing TV or movies with our children lets us talk about important ways to behave. For example, in one of the episodes of Clifford The Big Red Dog, one of the characters lies about where a ball lands. She does it to help her team win the game. You can talk to your children about why the truth is important. You can also talk about how it feels good to be liked by others and how to handle peer pressure. When parents and children watch media together, you share ideas and feelings, which presents an opportunity for learning.

For more suggestions, see Quick Tips for Watching TV with Your Child.

Children Watching TV

Ideas for when you aren't able to watch TV with your child

We are not always going to be able to watch every show or movie with our children. Children are exposed to television and movies everywhere they go — doctors’ offices, friends’ houses, restaurants and schools.

Take an active role and ask probing questions after your child has watched a show — whether or not you were there. Some sample questions are:

  • Tell me what happened in the show.
  • What did the characters do?
  • Do you agree with what the characters did? Why or why not?
  • What did the characters talk about?
  • How did you feel watching the show? Why?
  • What was your favorite part? Why?
  • What part didn’t you like? Why?
  • What questions do you have? (e.g., meaning of words, actions of characters, etc.)